2006 Tasting Notes

67

Sipdown, 141. So I had this actually first a while ago when I wasn’t really posting notes (dissertation still isn’t done, but the worst has past). Violet is one of those florals I haven’t been able to get behind, but I got this as a free sample with my Instant Thé order, so I figured I would try it.

The first sip I thought I didn’t want any more, but then it kind of grew on me and I mildly enjoyed the rest of the cup. TONS of violet, not much raspberry. I decided to cold steep the rest of it with a sachet of Paradise Green from Lupicia that came in my newsletter, since I wasn’t too into it. Mistake. That blend is totally bleh, mostly bitterness and overwhelming violet. A violet lover would certainly appreciate this more, I think.

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93

Sipdown, 142. Samples are gone, gotta get me some more of this! This morning I didn’t use ice, just cold milk and a blender, and it was great. I realized one thing I love about it is that I always get an awesome froth on the top, which I always struggle to get with regular matcha.

Indigobloom

I’ve discovered I love it best with tons of ice and milk. No ice? no dice :(
And I too need to order more!! only a few cups left…

Dinosara

I’m happy with just a latte, not a slushy. :) Plus my blender isn’t strong enough to crush ice so it’s just lumpy.

ashmanra

You guys know about the super cheap special blend and the offer for a big bag for a dollar, right? I just got my three bags in the mail, and two friends ordered, too!

Stephanie

I love the caramel, but the coconut matchaccino is incredible!!! Must try!

Dinosara

Yeah, I was tempted by the cheap blend but I’m unsure about the low-grade matcha base. I am going to submit my reviews for the free matcha, but I haven’t done it just yet.

ashmanra

Even with the special blend there is a fifty per cent chance of getting the higher grade, but I understand not wanting to risk. I figure if one of mine turns out to be lower grade, I will just add a little sugar. And Stephanie, I have pining away for the coconut all summer but I put myself on matcha lockdown other than special deals because I have so so so much matcha.

Stephanie

I understand Ashmanra, I go through matcha really slowly, too.

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90

Thanks again to Justea for this sample. I was excited to find out that one of the samples that they were including was an Earl Grey, since as many of you know I love Earl Greys and have tried many of them. I am a lover of a well-bergamotted Earl; no light scenting here, please.

Based on some comments from K S I tried this one with a bit less leaf, 1.5 tsp for 12oz. Of course I don’t know whether due to that or if the bergamot is serving to cover up some of the astringency that I found in the base tea, but this tea was DELICIOUS. What a fantastic Earl Grey.

It reminds me a bit of my fave Earl, Lupicia’s. The bergamot is strong but never gets that citrus pith-y bitterness. Instead, it hits all the good-beramot notes: citrusy, slightly floral, bright and crisp. Here, the base is smooth and slightly sweet, which I love in an Earl. A rich, malty base pairs perfectly with bright citrusy bergamot. I didn’t find this astringent or bitter at all, just extremely tasty. This is a tea that I definitely want more of. Guess I better get in on their latest crowdsourcing campaign so I can get more of this tea: http://www.justea.com

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
K S

Ice it. It gets even better.

Sil

oooh good to know! thanks KS

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93

I recently ordered a sample of this blend from Red Leaf because I had been hearing so much about it. I didn’t realize that I could get a next-to-free sample of it, so I jumped on it when I had the chance. I was pleased that the sample actually came with two single-serving pouches.

I was surprised at how much was used for a single cup, but I dumped the whole pouch into my blender with milk and some ice cubes. I will say that this is dangerous because it is dead easy and super delicious! Mmmm, caramelly, sweet but not too sweet, with a thick richness that was amazing from just milk and a few small ice cubes (that didn’t add much, honestly). The flavor of the matcha definitely shines through, but it’s just well balanced overall. I want to go out and buy a huge amount immediately, but I really should get through all the matcha that is still in my freezer before I do. There is no doubt that the convenience factor and deliciousness factor for this is huge.

Find it here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matchaccino/caramel-matchaccino.html

Sil

i can’t figure out how this would be any easier than matcha for me..since i make my matcha in a blender too. I don’t add sugar to my matcha lattes or smoothies…so ya haha but i keep wanting to try this.

Dinosara

Yeah for me making matcha lattes involves measuring out the matcha, sifting the matcha, adding sugar, adding milk. I mean there aren’t really that many steps but this one is like: dump in blender with milk, blend. Also whatever the do to make this thick and creamy is amazing.

Sil

nice! i had the samples they sent out and provided feedback on them. I just need to actually buy some now to try out. i have a friend that would looooove these

ashmanra

I just put it in a glass, pour the milk, and whoosh it with an aerolatte. That is dangerously easy! :D

Red Leaf Tea

Please note that Matchaccino also has a natural thickening agent to keep a nice consistency and texture :-)

Sil

thanks redleaf! good to know

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83
drank Kenyan Black by Justea
2006 tasting notes

Thanks to Justea for providing this sample for review. I am pretty picky these days about teas and I no longer jump on every offer for free tea on the forums. But this company stuck out: working to bring a sustainable, whole-leaf tea processing company to Kenya, whose tea farmers grow most of the worlds’ tea (!) but see basically none of the profits as their product is chopped up into tea for bags. I have a soft spot for the fact that it’s Kenya, too, because I have spent some time in East Africa and the people there are so wonderful and really deserve a better option.

I tried this tea when I first got it because I couldn’t wait until the crowdfunding effort went live, now accessible at http://www.justea.com . At the time, I remember that it was malty and a bit sweet, but also with a decent hit of astringency. I think this astringency characterizes African teas in general, and more broadly it applies (for me) to most assams, which makes sense because the tea bushes in Africa are of var. assamica.

I steeped this one for a slightly shorter time than recommended (but at the recommended temp) and it has definitely toned down the astringency a bit. There’s pretty much no completely removing it, but it’s actually desirable for many people (usually described as “briskness”). The cup is a bit malty, with some cocoa notes in the nose but not really on the palate. There is definitely a slight fruitiness to this tea as well, perhaps a bit of stone fruit. Overall a very nice tea, and one I would highly recommend for lovers of a brisk morning cup. I can’t wait to try the Earl Grey that I also have from this company.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Sil

This is also one of the few companies recently that i’ve jumped on the bandwagon to get free samples from. I really like what they’re doing. I’ve got a couple to try before their crowdfunding finishes so that i can help support that way.

K S

Dinosara – curious, how much leaf did you use? Either I am immune to the astringency from a lifetime of my parents steeping tea for, well until someone remembers to pour it up, or I use way less leaf than everyone else. Of course maybe it is both. I used about 1 1/2 tsp leaf in 10-12oz of water and steeped 3 minutes (no where near the 30 minutes mom and dad routinely use).

Dinosara

I used 2 tsp for 12oz, which is my standard black tea amount and what Justea recommends for the tea. I am also on the other end of the spectrum, and hyper-sensative to astringency.

Terri HarpLady

It seems that I’m the last to know about this!

Sil

Terri – I’m sending you some though!!!

Terri HarpLady

oh cool! Then all is well in my world!
;)

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77

Another triumphant sipdown, 143. I ordered this tea from Georgia Tea Company not for it’s purported “weight loss” properties, but because it was described as a green/oolong blend that was mango flavored. I hate it when a company names a tea something like “weight loss.” Why couldn’t you just call it Mango Papaya Oolong or something? There’s nothing more weight loss about this tea than any other green/oolong/fruit blend.

I have to admit I never tried this hot. And I didn’t try it for quite a while, just like the Sleepy Hollow Pumpkin Chai. But when I did cold steeped, I was very pleasantly surprised. You know, this is pretty tasty! The oolong seems like it is probably a generic formosa, which gives a slight toasted note, but not too much. The mango is light and fruity, but the flavoring is definitely subtle in a good way. By the end of my “sample” (large pouch), I actually took to liking this one so much that I would consider repurchasing for cold brews in the future. But right now I am basking in the glow of having finished off another old tea from my cupboard.

Preparation
Iced
Fjellrev

Sipping down a weight loss tea? Hold the phone, shouldn’t you have disappeared by now?

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54

I’ve had this tea for a while, although apparently not as long as I thought. I thought for sure at least two years, but it’s really more like a year and a half. I’ve never tried it because I wasn’t super impressed with most of the teas that I had ordered from Georgia Tea Company, and I had so many others to drink. But today I decided to go ahead and try it out. I am taking this tea with milk and sugar because I feel like most chais are better that way (they are a little overwhelming to me straight). I would assume that this is a re-sell of Culinary Teas’s tea of the same name.

Side note: I looked at my old order form for this company and was reminded how all of these at least 1oz bags of tea I got were supposed to be sample sizes that made 10 cups. On what planet?? When I was first starting out in the tea world I was excited by really large samples. Look at all this tea I’m getting for $2! But now they kind of annoy me. An ounce is not a sample. An ounce is actually a lot of tea to get through.

Anyway, this is less than inspiring. Perhaps it has lost a fair amount of luster due to age. It tastes spicy and a little dusty. No pumpkin. Not even any substantial black tea flavor, and I didn’t skimp on the leaf or steeping. It tastes thin and flat. I think I may just toss the pouch of this since I doubt I will convince myself to drink it again, and I wouldn’t want to send anyone an old, flavorless tea. Unexpected sipdown? 144.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

Hahah I feel the same way!! I even decline FREE tea if it’s in a large quantity. sometimes.

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70

Sipdown, 145. Woohoo, finally finishing this tea! I bought this a year and a half ago at the NY Coffee and Tea Festival, but then was immediately unimpressed by it once I got home. Then I had a whole tin of sachets and no desire to drink them. But I discovered that I do enjoy this one as a cold brew. It is creamy and bergamotty and all in all pretty tasty. Tasty enough that I have now finished it! It feels like a triumph.

Preparation
Iced

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78

Sipdown, 146. Normally I would have saved this tea for a time when my stomach was upset or I wasn’t feeling well (lemon, ginger), but sipdowns must be had. I accidentally set my timer for 1 hour and two minutes somehow, but noticed it after it had gone for about 4.5 minutes. Thankfully it survived its slightly long steep time without getting bitter or nasty.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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74

Sipdown, 147. Time for round two of MF Earl Greys that I don’t expect to like all that much. But I’m still glad to try them, so thanks wheezybee!

I love most florals, and for a while I thought I loved lavender Earl Greys, but then lavender turned against me and I haven’t been a fan of it in teas. But you know what? This is pretty decent. I am enjoying this tea. The lavender is light and not too soapy or herby, and the base is smooth. Kind of boring, but smooth. I wouldn’t necessary go for it again, but I will happily drink the rest of this cup.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-86: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
85-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.

Location

Ohio, US

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